LOPEZ ISLAND, Wash. – At the head of a convoy, Capt. Roy Moore Jr.’s tank was ambushed by armor piercing anti-tank fire. His tank was left riddled and inoperable after four direct hits. Exiting his tank Moore crawled under heavy fire to take control of another tank and continued the assault directing effective fire and destroying the enemy anti-tank gun, according to his citation for the Silver Star award. This event didn’t happen yesterday or even a decade ago, but during a campaign through Europe in March, 1945.
Moore’s heroic actions began months prior when he landed on Utah beach with the 735th Tank Battalion. Moore fought the Germans throughout France in an effort to liberate them from the grasp of the Nazis.
On a small island off the coast of Washington about 200 friends, family members and guests gathered to watch as the now retired Col. Roy Moore Jr. was awarded a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, Feb. 25, for his actions in France during World War II.
The French Legion of Honor is an order established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. Moore received the degree of Chevalier (Knight); members are awarded the honor for excellent civil or military conduct. Moore received the award after official investigation and approval by Nicolas Sarkozy the President of France.
Moore’s battles in the European theatre of war happened over six decades ago and his actions, not forgotten, are being recognized. America’s “Greatest Generation” trained for and fought against the tyranny of two fascist dictators. Moore did his part in the war helping to liberate France as he fought with B Company, 735th Tank Battalion, in battles such as but not limited to: the landing at Utah beach, liberation of Angers, St. Calais, Verdun and the attack on Fort Driant. Moore took command of B Company after intense fighting that wounded or killed every other officer in the unit. Moore continued to press on through the war in Europe.
Honorable Jack Cowan, the French Consulate, wrote a speech delivered to Moore that embodied the heart felt appreciation of the French people.
“It is hard for the consulate and almost impossible to imagine how much courage and bravery you must have had to fight in France during World War II. Saving, as you did, France and Europe from utter destruction.”
“You rescued people who didn’t even know you but you can be sure that these people whom you didn’t know have not forgotten. Their children and grandchildren have not forgotten; we will never forget. The French people know exactly what we owe the American people, the American Army and you personally. Thanks to you, people of my generation are allowed to grow up in a free country.”
Moore’s actions in the past are making a difference today even in the face of a changing Army. Over the past decade our Army has been fighting counterinsurgency wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, very different from World War II. The Army is beginning to shift back to the basics, training for force on force battles, said Lt. Col Thomas Feltey, commander of 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
“Recently our Army’s leaders have sought to rebuild our traditional war-fighting skills and I can tell you first hand that today we still use the lessons learned by Col. Moore and the veterans of World War II to educate our junior leaders,” said Feltey. “The lessons of properly executed combined arms operations are just as relevant today as they were 68 years ago.”
“In our training today we teach our young soldiers to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of the battlefield just as our G.I.s did so remarkably well in the European theatre of operations,” said Feltey at Moore’s award ceremony.
Moore retired to Lopez Island, Wash., in 1972. He continued his service to the community by helping to set up the Lopez Lions Club. Moore also taught hunting and firearms safety to sportsmen and members of community. He wrote a book called “Chariots of Iron” that outlines the 735th Tank Battalion’s actions in Word War II, Europe.
Despite Moore’s waning health he is still active in his community and heavily involved in supporting America through the democratic process, said Paul Neave, longtime friend.
“He is a tremendously loyal and fierce defender of this country and it’s a great honor to know him,” said Neave.
Friends and family congratulated Moore on his award after the ceremony and laughed that they would have to call him Sir Roy Moore from now on.